Making an Arcade Cabinet
Gaming is in Her Blood
There has been a lot going on for Catreina as of late. Schooling, medical appointments, trying out new games, watching a lot of Twitch, and getting down and dirty with the Raspberry Pi 2. But there is one thing that she has always wanted to create, always wanted to have – a working arcade cabinet. She came close in Massachusetts, just before she started casting. A friend of hers happened to also be the owner of a vending distribution company, and had a few ‘unworking’ arcade cabinets he was willing to part with, for free. She took one, and got a JAMMA board for Capcom vs SNK – but alas, the cabinet was not long for this world. She trashed the cabinet and all that was with it in 2010, just before her final move prior to the cross-country trek.
This never left her mind however. She has always desired the arcade experience at home. She was even able to purchase a fully working MAME machine at one of her prior jobs – a start up – and get it working there. Now, she has the itch again, and this time, she is determined to make the cabinet and make her dream a reality.
Preparation and Staging
One of the first things you will find out, should you ever decide to create an arcade cabinet yourself, is there are many ways to go about it. You can buy the entire package, computer system and all, and have it delivered. This will save you time at the cost of money – you pay for the labor that was put in, and at a premium. However, for those who have cash and not time to burn, this can be one of the best methods of getting a cabinet up and running. It is what Catreina did when she worked for Jingle Networks.
Another method is to purchase an empty cabinet – be it an old one that is no longer used on eBay, from a dealer, etc, or the parts pre-cut, and either assembled or ready for assembly. This method is the mid-point between buying it all out and building it all yourself. This method allows you to save time on fabrication by purchasing a pre-cut kit, or a used/new cabinet, from a dealer. This allows you to spend less time on planning and more time on building.
The third method is what Catreina is planning – creating the plans, purchasing all the materials, and building from scratch. This allows for a ton of control over size, design, and layout of the cabinet, but at the cost of time. It takes a ton of planning to get the dimensions correct, the layout of the buttons, pitch of the monitor, wiring the cabinet, lighting, sound, etc. However, if you take the time necessary to do so, the end result can be amazing.
Catreina is working on the plans needed to create her own cabinet from scratch. Sheets of MDF, lighting, control sticks, buttons, power strips, molding, framework, artwork, layout, and design are all needed before she can start the process of actually making the machine. This series will follow this process and, at the end, give you a material list along with schematics and a detailed guide for how to create your own Arcade @ Home.